@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

NC to speed resurrection of canceled health plans

Posted November 15, 2013
Updated November 18, 2013

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin vowed during a Nov. 15, 2013, news conference that his agency would speed the approval process for insurers to offer 2014 health plans that don't meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

— Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin vowed Friday that his agency would speed the approval process for insurers to offer 2014 health plans that don't meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

President Barack Obama on Thursday granted a one-year exemption for such plans after an outcry from people who said their health coverage was being canceled despite the president's repeated assurances that people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it under the new health care law.

The cancellation notices covered more than 473,000 people in North Carolina, Goodwin said, and insurers have only a few weeks to resurrect the canceled plans, get them approved and enroll customers in time for them to have coverage in January.

"It is a huge challenge," Goodwin said. "I'm frustrated, I'm mad, and I sympathize with every North Carolina family out there."

The Department of Insurance will use an expedited review so insurers can quickly establish 2014 rates and begin offering the plans again, he said.

"It is necessary. In fact, it is vital," he said. "Otherwise, North Carolinians would go without coverage."

Insurers will still face consequences if plans are later deemed overpriced, Goodwin said.

"Then, there will be appropriate repercussions against those insurance companies," he said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina had been talking with the DOI about offering health plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act even before Obama's announcement, Chief Executive Brad Wilson said.

Health plans, health insurance generic Time short to review, renew health plans

"We understand that many of our customers are frustrated and confused by difficulties accessing the federal exchange, and we want to do everything we can to help them maintain quality health coverage that they can afford," Wilson said in a statement. “There are still important details to work through,and both our company and the Department of Insurance have committed to work as quickly as possible."

Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said about 151,000 of their policy holders who received cancellation notices would be eligible for renewals. Blue Cross expects to have more details about the renewed plans by Dec. 1, he said.

There was immediate word from Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, which like Blue Cross offers plans though North Carolina's online exchange, about its efforts to revive plans that were due to be canceled.

Bob Mulder, a Raleigh real estate agent, said he isn't thrilled about a short-term fix for his soon-to-be-canceled insurance, but he said it's better than what he and his wife faced under the Affordable Care Act. Instead of their $298 monthly premium, they faced paying $1,140 a month for a plan purchased through North Carolina's online exchange.

"If they make a good faith effort, then yes, I'd be accepting of that," Mulder said.

He said he wants a health plan that covers what he chooses, not one where the price dramatically changes based on a few thousand dollars in income.

Goodwin urged people to continue to shop around and compare the costs and benefits of various health plans, but Mulder said the continued uncertainty over his 2014 health coverage is unnerving – and he remains doubtful about a long-term solution.

"Given what's happened in the last few years, I don't have a lot of hope," he said.

36 Comments

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  • bfortyme Nov 18, 8:07 p.m.

    Thank you Emperor Obama for the 1 year extension. Your graciousness is overshadowed by the glow emanating from your fingertips.

    So Insurance companies base their rates on claims history, etc. Hmmmmm, so without adequate claims history, what will the 2014 rates be based on? What about 2015 rates?

  • NCMom1 Nov 18, 5:08 p.m.

    Soapbox,

    Just FYI - Lifetime limits are eliminated under the federal laws and
    Medical Codes are determined by the AMA - American Med. Association, not insurance companies...

  • beachboater Nov 18, 3:20 p.m.

    Don't worry. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

    And remember, we only had 3 years to get this website up and running. The plan was complete 3 years ago. And we are educating our youth so well, and they are finding good jobs, so programmers are abundant. The abundance of our wonderfully trained programmers just doesn't apply to our website, because it is like me, special.

  • jackjones2nc Nov 18, 2:57 p.m.

    kodywoof - The rate on your cancelled plan would likely increase just as radically as they have for decades. Bizarre how "conservatives" seem to believe healthcare costs were sustainable prior to ACA.

  • jackjones2nc Nov 18, 10:53 a.m.

    foodstamptrader - The overwhelming majority of plans that insurance companies cancelled lacked adequate coverage for serious injuries or illness. I don't want to pay for these people with inadequate coverage. If your coverage would really protect you, then congratualions.

  • kodywoof Nov 18, 10:40 a.m.

    I guess 473,000 of us with cancelled plans will know shortly how we will vote next year. Restoration of my plan means just that- Restore the plan at the existing rate. I for one will not be happy if "that" request by the Prez is not fullfilled, and my new plan has a significant premium increase.

  • foodstamptrader Nov 18, 10:27 a.m.

    "Funny how no one addressed the insurance companies for cancelling their junk policies." - jackjones2nc

    What "junk" policies are you referring to?

    My BCBS HSA 5000 plan had everything the Obamacare Bronze does except I did not have to pay for maternity and infant care (54 YO male). It costs me $211/month LESS. I want to keep it. Why are you calling it a "junk" policy, it is very good and comprehensive.

    Oh, also, the Obama plan actually has a HIGHER deductible ($5500 vs $5000) even with a premium twice as high.

    Obama's plans are not better, just a rip off!

  • jackjones2nc Nov 18, 10:00 a.m.

    Funny how no one addressed the insurance companies for cancelling their junk policies.

  • dckelder Nov 18, 8:32 a.m.

    President Barack Obama on Thursday granted a one-year exemption.

    Granted just about sums it up. His arrogance knows no bounds.

    Now the stage is set to blame the insurance companies.

  • Tax Man Nov 15, 10:57 p.m.

    We should have unfettered competition allowing us to purchase from all insurance companies across state lines and to only have to buy what we need. If you don't need or want birth control you should not have to pay for it. If you don't want or need abortions you should not pay for it. If you don't want or need child vaccines you should not pay for it. If you don't need mammograms or pap smears you should not pay for it. A real basic healthcare policy that is reasonably priced is what is needed. Make them affordable for all and all will buy them. Force anyone to have to pay for services they don't need and you have a problem. The premiums need to go way down for everyone without losing the coverage. And everyone needs to be treated equally - no special favors for someone buying their own plan or getting it from work or their union. Whatever is the best plan for anyone must be available to everyone.

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